The next two images are before and after.
Before the stones, before the plants (except what I brought from my Connecticut garden), here is what the front looked like back in late May, when I had the foundation shrubs removed.
The image below is from a few days ago. This space still has a long way to go to become a garden, but it's at least a start. The stones help.
What a difference a region makes. After almost a dozen years gardening in New England, I had gotten used to having stone just show up: Dig a 5-gallon hole, and you get three gallons of stone. My big boulders in Connecticut were given to me by a man who needed to get rid of them because he was expanding his horse stables.
Ten dump trucks of stones ranging from softball size up to the size of a kitchen stove were his necessary discards and my prized garden elements.
Now back in Georgia, I get stone the way I did when I lived here twice before: I buy it from the stone seller. So I went shopping at Earth Products, here in Marietta, few miles away.
The joy of shopping for something special never goes away, whether you're a child in the toy store or an ol' gardener in the rock store.
Clambering over piles of stones separated into various sizes, I picked out my three: large, medium and small, starting with the big one seasoned by splotches of moss and lichen.
After choosing the other two, I set up delivery and prepared for the arrival, digging out crevices for the group, trying to make them look as if they had not just arrived from the stone store, trying to help them do what stones do: add a feeling of stability, permanence, strength, beauty to a space.
When the flatbed truck with the Bobcat on the back had come and gone, when I had fit the three pieces into the spaces as well as I could, with the help of the two delivery men, I took looks from various angles.
Design experts say the way to place stones is to make sure sure the two smaller stones stand different distances from the large stone. Some have precise measurements for this relationship among the three, saying such placements make the grouping look and feel more natural.
That may be true, but I've never had the luxury of placing stones that way, as I am never the man driving the Bobcat. And, though I have done it, I no longer shout to the man on the machine: "Six inches to your left!"
So, here as always, I eyeballed the space and the stones and wound up simply getting stones I like into places I think I want them. Places where I can see them from indoors – and out as I walk through the garden or sit in it.
As time goes by, rain will wash these newcomers clean, and they will feel at home. As will I.